Local/State

Family, friends in Pa. mourn fallen Guard members

Thursday, April 11, 2013
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Ruffner and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarett Yoder

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Ruffner and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarett Yoder

Family, friends and colleagues are remembering two Pennsylvania National Guard pilots killed in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan.

Guard officials say 27-year-old Chief Warrant Officer Jarett Yoder of Mohnton and 34-year-old Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Ruffner of Harrisburg were killed when their helicopter crashed during a reconnaissance mission.

Ruffner's girlfriend, Jackeline Bignardi, says he wanted to go to Afghanistan to help people and that he wouldn't have felt complete if he didn't go. Capt. Lou Fabrizi calls him "one of the best."

Yoder's wife, Heather Garay-Yoder, calls her husband "my American hero." She says he always dreamed of being an Apache pilot and died doing what he loved and dreamed of doing.

Both men were members of a Guard unit based in Fort Indiantown Gap in central Pennsylvania.

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pennsylvania, military, afghanistan, local/state
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